The Fuss Over Real-Time Search

By on April 7, 2010

There’s been a lot of press about real-time search, and the search engines (like Bing or Google) that have previously jumped on board, but what’s all the fuss about?

Ok for one, it’s just really cool to tweet something, then jump over to Google or Bing to do a search, and see your tweet pop up under the results. Real-time search provides a fascinating look at what conversations are taking place right at that moment, around the world. And, it marks an important step forward in online search capability. Beyond this, however, is there any real value to real-time search? Well, there’s good debate going on about that too. The potential is there, definitely, and the likes of search engines and social media networks alike are nodding their heads in fervent agreement. So what does all of this mean for the average business professional?

Imagine a company looking for customers interested in rock climbing. A quick look online and you’ll find conversations and tweets from customers talking about the very subject your company addresses, and within moments you can be involved in that conversation as well. In fact, there are a lot of businesses doing this already.

CC Image “rock climbing is fun!” by mariachily on Flickr

The reverse is also happening as well. Consumers looking for a particular company, or information on a subject/product/etc. are finding real-time results for their queries, posted by the businesses hoping to capture their attention (and loyalty). Any business that isn’t thinking about this, is one that is potentially leaving some customers on the table.

Real-time search also calls into question the relevance of content on company websites. In the past, SEO experts in particular, recommended updating content periodically, in order to remain on top of search engine results. This becomes even more critical as real-time takes hold, only now companies will need to think about updating content daily, or more frequently, if they’re going to keep their top-ranking on search engines alive.

At the same time, there’s still some growth and innovation that needs to take place in this arena. With Twitter and Facebook opening up to search engines, the pool of content available online just expanded by an incredible amount, and as many are pointing out, search engines are still figuring out how to wrap their arms around it all.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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